Show 215, March 18, 2017: Executive Chef Craig Strong, Studio, Montage Laguna Beach

Craig StrongKnown for presenting extraordinary seasonal tasting menus, Executive Chef Craig Strong has introduced a new Vegetarian Tasting Menu at Studio at Montage Laguna Beach. The new tasting menu, now offered at the Laguna Beach free-standing, ocean-view restaurant, highlights the restaurant’s 1,000-square-foot raised bed garden with dishes that play on classic French specialties made deliciously vegetarian. We pull Chef Strong out of his amazing kitchen for a brief chat.

“This new tasting menu highlights vegetables at the center of the plate with twists on classics, like Pot‘ato’-au-Feu, a take on the traditional Pot-au-Feu beef stew, and Crimson Beet Tartare, my take on a traditional steak tartare, with a golden beet ‘yolk’ in place of the expected raw egg yolk,” explains Chef Strong, who is known for his modern French cuisine with California influences. “I believe that we ‘eat’ with our eyes and noses long before we taste anything, and this menu allows my guests to do just that with nature’s bounty.”

“This is a great menu for vegetarians and non-vegetarians, alike,” commented Chef Strong, whose family garden of zucchini and tomatoes first inspired him to experiment in the kitchen as a child. “Diners who are looking to explore the best seasonal and local produce will find adventure in this menu.”

Studio has been recognized with Five Stars from Forbes Travel Guide, Three Stars from Los Angeles Times, Robb Report as one of “America’s Finest Dining Restaurants,” and Food & Wine Magazine’s “Top 50 Hotel Restaurants.” Studio has also earned the “Best of Award of Excellence” from Wine Spectator and is rated one of Zagat’s “America’s Top Restaurants.”

Studio serves dinner nightly from 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Dark on Monday evening.

Congrats to Chef Strong. This June marks his 8th Anniversary at the helm of Studio!

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Show 141, October 10, 2015: Bracero Cocina de Raiz and General Manager JM Woody van Horn

JM Woody Von HornThe “Wolfgang Puck” of Northern Baja is acclaimed Chef Javier Plascencia. Savvy Southern Californians have enjoyed dining at both Romesco in Bonita and Mision 19 in Tijuana. His newest restaurant, Bracero Cocina de Raiz is located in San Diego’s Little Italy.

He’s been all over Food TV in recent years including visits with Anthony Bourdain and Travel Channel’s Andrew Zimmern. He’s also been profiled in The New York Times.

Chef Javier will be preparing a special 9 course wine-paired tasting menu on Monday evening, Oct. 19th at Bracero for American Institute of Wine & Food – San Diego Chapter’s members and guests. Distinguished Winemakers from Northern Baja will be there, too.

Javier Plasencia’s General Manager and Sommelier at Bracero, JM Woody van Horn is our guest.

Woody is a past recipient (twice) of an AIWF-San Diego culinary education scholarship. The San Diego Chapter of the AIWF is one of the most active chapters in the United States. They host a creative series of ongoing culinary events and activities for their members including visits to wineries and artisan food purveyors in Northern Baja. They were very early in recognizing the promise of Chef Javier Plascencia.

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Show 101, December 13, 2014: Chef Curtis Stone’s Maude

Ben Aviram of Maude RestaurantCelebrity Chef Curtis Stone’s (Bravo’s “Top Chef Masters” and Food Network’s “Kitchen Inferno”) Maude in Beverly Hills was the Best New Restaurant of the Year for both LA Weekly and Eater L.A.

Every month there is a new theme ingredient around which a totally original, 9-course tasting menu is created. December is “Winter Squash.” The monthly ingredient themes for 2015 are already posted on Maude’s Website.

Because it’s so small you politely advised to make your reservation well in advance. It’s only 7 tables and 25 seats with an open kitchen. There is a carefully considered wine pairing option available, too.

At the beginning of a new month reservations open for dining in the next month. Be aware the restaurant is closed on Sunday and Monday. Reservation hours are on open days from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Also Maude will be closed for vacation the first two weeks of January.

General Manager and Wine Director Ben Aviram joins us to take us through the extraordinary dining experience at Maude.

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Show 88, September 13, 2014: Amelia & Florent Marneau, Marche Moderne

Florent and Amelia Marneau of Marche Moderne at South Coast PlazaAmelia and Florent Marneau, chef–proprietors of Marche Moderne, one of the OC’s very best, located at the Penthouse at South Coast Plaza, will host a fundraising Friends of James Beard Dinner on Wednesday September 24, 2014 at 6:30 p.m. An intimate group of one hundred fortunate guests will enjoy a magnificent five-course tasting menu paired with exceptional wines generously donated by distributors and winemakers.

The funds raised will benefit The Foundation’s educational outreach along with funding a local Marche Moderne scholarship for promising culinarians.

“Marche Moderne, which opened in 2007, has been described as “probably the best bistro in Southern California” in the Los Angeles Times by S. Irene Virbila; was crowned best restaurant in OC by Orange County Register restaurant critic Brad A. Johnson; and named in the LA Times 2014 “101 Best Restaurants” by Pulitzer Prize-winning restaurant critic Jonathan Gold. The Marneaus combine a passion for market-inspired ingredients and classic French cooking techniques with modern touches at their popular restaurant.”

The fundraiser will feature an eye-popping silent auction of select luxury offerings. Perfect items for really thoughtful Holiday Gifts…

For reservations and more information please call Nadine Hotong at 714.434.7900. This will sell out…

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Show 76, June 14, 2014: Donato Poto, co-owner, Providence, Hollywood, CA

Providence Restaurant“June marks our ninth anniversary at Providence and we are on…well…Cloud 9! We would like to take this opportunity to thank you, our loyal guests, for your enduring support. “We feel so fortunate to be part of the ever-evolving Los Angeles food scene. At times, I look back and can’t believe it’s been nearly a decade. It feels like we just opened yesterday!”, says consummate host and co-owner of Providence, Donato Poto. In honor of this auspicious occasion, Providence is providing some incentive for you to celebrate along with us. Beginning on our May 28th reopening, we are offering our four-course tasting menu for $80 a person, during the entire month of June. We look forward to celebrating with you!” This may be extended into July…

The Los Angeles Times‘ restaurant critic, Jonathan Gold, recently ranked Providence as the Number One Restaurant in the annual Jonathan Gold’s 101 Best Restaurants 2014. This is an encore from the same position in 2013.

Providence was closed last month for about two weeks for a freshening of the dining rooms. It’s got a new art deco look. The patio located off the main dining room was enclosed.

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Show 75, June 7, 2014: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris

Chef Jet and Producer Andy preview the show.

Central located in the heart of Montgomery, Alabama’s vibrant Downtown entertainment district is a true gem of an American find.

The engaging executive chef with an easy-going manner sets the tone for the place.

The StarChefs Rising Stars Revue is coming to Los Angeles on June 12th. It celebrates Los Angeles’ brightest culinary talent.

Brock Kleweno (Kla-ve-no) is both the executive chef and GM of the historic Yamshiro Hollywood. Their ever-popular Thursday Night Farmers Market has returned through September 4th.

Piero Selvaggio’s Valentino in Santa Monica is celebrating its 41st year. Piero and Executive Chef Nico Chessa have introduced a nightly changing special Italian tasting menu there at the Vin Bar.

Loteria Grill! is celebrating 6 centuries of Mexican Wine with the introduction of a broader selection of fine wines from Northern Baja on their list.

The Negroni is a classic Italian cocktail originating in Florence Italy. It’s Negroni week in the United States and charities are the beneficiaries.

Jet has been doing some top-tier dining in Las Vegas at Raku and L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon. He also caught a pre-opening party at Giada at The Cromwell boutique luxury hotel.

All of this and lots more absolutely incredible deliciousness on Saturday’s show!

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Show 65, March 15, 2014: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris

Chef Jet and Producer Andy preview the show.

Heritage breed pigs are the talk of in-the-know chefs these days. We’ll meet the enterprising husband & wife couple behind Cook Pigs Ranch, a noted local producer of “farm to table heritage pigs.” You’ll also learn the intriguing story of a former Bouchon Beverly Hills chef who is soon to open an ambitious artisan butcher shop utilizing Old-World techniques in Santa Ana.

We’re journeying to San Diego where an energetic new executive chef is taking a San Diego seafood classic to a higher level with nightly changing tasting menus that are paired with boutique premium wines. The meals are, surprisingly, served with an incredible view of the bay.

We’re nuts about coffee on the “SoCal Restaurant Show.” So are our friends at the chef-driven Bruxie, the Belgian waffle sandwich guys. After a lot of research they have recently introduced their own “Bold Blend” custom crafted coffee. It’s a proprietary four-bean blend.

Los Angeles has a new food event with celebrity master chefs. It’s the All-Star Chef Classic at L.A. Live. We’ll have a preview.

High-end Tasting Menus at rarified fine-dining establishments are getting a lot of attention. Chef Jet and Producer Andy will be talking about Eater’s14 Most Expensive Tasting Menus in America.”

All of this and lots more incredible deliciousness on Saturday’s show!

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Show 65, March 15, 2014: Executive Chef Ivan Flowers, Top of the Market, San Diego

Ivan Flowers of Top of the MarketTop of the Market, harbor-side in Downtown San Diego, is one of those classic destination restaurants where the food is actually on par with the magnificent bay view. Quite a feat…

Executive Chef Ivan Flowers in newly arrived and his worthy mission is to add to the achievements of this popular restaurant. His concept is “boat-to-table.” New to the dinner menu options is a very special seven-course tasting menu. Chef Ivan then works with their inspired and talented Sommelier, Anne Estrada, to offer carefully selected boutique wines to compliment each dish. No mass market wines in this cellar…As a package it’s an evening of memorable dining. We’ll be visiting with Chef Flowers to get all the specifics.

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Show 65, March 15, 2014: Jet Tila and Andy Harris on “The 14 Most Expensive Tasting Menus in America”

The Fourteen Most Expensive Tasting Menus in America by Eater NationalEater National posted an intriguing piece entitled “The 14 Most Expensive Tasting Menus In America” back on January 28th. The feature was authored by Gabe Ulla.

Number 14 is Daniel in New York with a price tag of $567 for two guests. It gets progressively more expensive on the way up to Number 1 which carries a lofty $1,160 tab for two. Ouch…

Chef Jet and Producer Andy have been fortunate enough to experience a handful of these incredible dining spectaculars. We’ll paint the rarified picture…It’s not for everyone. Forgive us.

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March 15: Ivan Flowers, Bruxie Bold Blend Coffee, Michael Puglisi, All Star Chef Classic, Cook Pigs Ranch

Podcasts

Segment One: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris
Segment Two: Executive Chef Ivan Flowers, Top of the Market, San Diego
Segment Three: Chef Kelly Mullarney, Co-Owner, Bruxie
Segment Four: Chef Michael Puglisi, Proprietor, Electric City Butcher Shop
Segment Five: Lucy Lean, Co-Producer / Executive Director, All-Star Chef Classic at L.A. Live
Segment Six: Krys and Mike Cook, Co-Presidents, Cook Pigs Ranch, Julian Part One
Segment Seven: Krys and Mike Cook, Co-Presidents, Cook Pigs Ranch, Julian Part Two
Segment Eight: Jet Tila and Andy Harris on “The 14 Most Expensive Tasting Menus in America”

Chef Jet and Producer Andy preview the show.

Heritage breed pigs are the talk of in-the-know chefs these days. We’ll meet the enterprising husband & wife couple behind Cook Pigs Ranch, a noted local producer of “farm to table heritage pigs.” You’ll also learn the intriguing story of a former Bouchon Beverly Hills chef who is soon to open an ambitious artisan butcher shop utilizing Old-World techniques in Santa Ana.

We’re journeying to San Diego where an energetic new executive chef is taking a San Diego seafood classic to a higher level with nightly changing tasting menus that are paired with boutique premium wines. The meals are, surprisingly, served with an incredible view of the bay.

We’re nuts about coffee on the “SoCal Restaurant Show.” So are our friends at the chef-driven Bruxie, the Belgian waffle sandwich guys. After a lot of research they have recently introduced their own “Bold Blend” custom crafted coffee. It’s a proprietary four-bean blend.

Los Angeles has a new food event with celebrity master chefs. It’s the All-Star Chef Classic at L.A. Live. We’ll have a preview.

High-end Tasting Menus at rarified fine-dining establishments are getting a lot of attention. Chef Jet and Producer Andy will be talking about Eater’s “14 Most Expensive Tasting Menus in America.”

All of this and lots more incredible deliciousness on Saturday’s show!

Ivan Flowers of Top of the MarketTop of the Market, harbor-side in Downtown San Diego, is one of those classic destination restaurants where the food is actually on par with the magnificent bay view. Quite a feat…

Executive Chef Ivan Flowers in newly arrived and his worthy mission is to add to the achievements of this popular restaurant. His concept is “boat-to-table.” New to the dinner menu options is a very special seven-course tasting menu. Chef Ivan then works with their inspired and talented Sommelier, Anne Estrada, to offer carefully selected boutique wines to compliment each dish. No mass market wines in this cellar…As a package it’s an evening of memorable dining. We’ll be visiting with Chef Flowers to get all the specifics.

Bruxie Bold Blend CoffeeWe’re fans of Bruxie. These are the premium sandwich folks who use a creative version of an authentic Belgian Waffle (they developed the proprietary recipe) as the bread. The waffle is light, airy, crispy and not sweet. Since they opened their first location in a classic former burger stand in Old Towne Orange within walking distance of Chapman University they have quickly grown to a total of six company-owned restaurants! No short cuts with quality ingredients here.

Bruxie partner and noted chef, Kelly Mullarney, is truly coffee obsessed. As a side project he set out to create a chef-driven coffee experience that would be bold and complex enough to stand up to, and complement, the flavors on the Bruxie menu.

The result is The Bold Blend, a proprietary, four-bean blend of 100 percent fair trade imported coffee beans. It’s now the house blend served at all Bruxies.

Michael PuglisiMembers of Chef Michael Puglisi’s immediate family in Sicily are well-known Old World artisan butchers. Starting this summer Chef Puglisi will be using those skills at his own Electric City Butcher Shop which is a major component of Santa Ana’s much –anticipated (and talked about) 4th Street Market Food & Culinary emporium. Puglisi was previously the sous chef of Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Beverly Hills.

While the build-out of 4th Street Market is going on Chef Puglisi will be honing his hand-made sausage making skills at the just opened Picnik in Old Town Pasadena in partnership with Chef Eduardo Ruiz of Corazon y Miel in Bell. Old World sausage-making traditions will be used. Every gourmet sausage served will be twisted and cased by hand.

All Star Chef ClassicThe Inaugural All-Star Chef Classic at L.A. LIVE, a never-before-seen modern food event bringing together over 25 highly acclaimed chefs from around the country for unique and interactive dining experiences, is set to launch March 21st to 23rd at L.A. Live’s Event Deck. The event is organized by culinary industry veterans and founders of Alice in Events, LLC., Lucy Lean and Krissy Lefebvre. They have partnered with AEG, owners and operators of the downtown Los Angeles Sports and Entertainment District.

The three-day event will feature master chefs cooking and collaborating in venues designed to provide guests with up-close, unique and interactive culinary experiences.

The grand finale on Sunday, March 23rd from Noon to 2:30 p.m. is “Savor the Season Presented by Melissa’s Produce.” This event will wrap up the enticing weekend with a Farmer’s Market celebration of what LA has in abundance – seasonal , fresh, local ingredients cooked up and elevated to great heights by All-Star Chefs including Wylie Dufresne, Graham Elliot, Nancy Silverton, David Myers, Vinny Dotolo, David LeFevre, Josiah Citrin, and Waylynn Lucas. The chefs will create seasonal dishes using produce from a local purveyor/farmer providing the 600 guests with a variety of tastes as well as recipe cards to prepare each dish at home.

Co-Producer/Executive Director Lucy Lean is our guest.

Cook Pigs Ranch is a proudly family-owned, farm-to-table operation with a focus on Heritage pigs. The varieties include Red Wattles, GOS, Large Blacks, Berkshires, Durocs, Tamworth, Mulefoot, and crosses of these magnificent breeds. Cooks also raises KuneKune pigs. The ranch is located in Julian, CA, in the Cleveland National Forest, about one hour East of San Diego.

Cook Pigs Ranch is not a large commercial farming / ranching business. Instead their goal is to maintain a small and boutique ranching operation which allows their pigs to free-range and grow slowly in a humane and stress-free environment.

Kryz and Mike Cook of Cook Pigs RanchKrys and Mike Cook are the co-Presidents of Cook Pigs, and they run the day-to-day operations of the ranch.

At Cook Pigs Ranch they experience all four seasons. The ranch is situated at approximately 4,200 feet in elevation. The combination of the local environment and Cook’s feed program produces a high quality product very similar to the renown Iberian Pork from Spain & Portugal.

Cook Pigs RanchAt the recent Cochon 555 stop in Los Angeles defending champion Chef Ray Garcia of FIG Restaurant at the Fairmont Miramar Hotel in Santa Monica successfully defended his title once again. He prepared & cooked a Large Black from Cooks Pig Ranch.

The Pop-Up Butcher Shop (Lindy & Grundy) @ Cochon 555 used a Berkshire from Cook Pigs Ranch.

Cook Pigs Ranch will soon have a retail facility in San Diego ( Kearny Mesa) to serve the public.

The Farm Shop at Primal Pastures in Temecula all sells Cook Pigs Ranch meats.

The Fourteen Most Expensive Tasting Menus in America by Eater NationalEater National posted an intriguing piece entitled “The 14 Most Expensive Tasting Menus In America” back on January 28th. The feature was authored by Gabe Ulla.

Number 14 is Daniel in New York with a price tag of $567 for two guests. It gets progressively more expensive on the way up to Number 1 which carries a lofty $1,160 tab for two. Ouch…

Chef Jet and Producer Andy have been fortunate enough to experience a handful of these incredible dining spectaculars. We’ll paint the rarified picture…It’s not for everyone. Forgive us.

Podcasts

Segment One: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris
Segment Two: Executive Chef Ivan Flowers, Top of the Market, San Diego
Segment Three: Chef Kelly Mullarney, Co-Owner, Bruxie
Segment Four: Chef Michael Puglisi, Proprietor, Electric City Butcher Shop
Segment Five: Lucy Lean, Co-Producer / Executive Director, All-Star Chef Classic at L.A. Live
Segment Six: Krys and Mike Cook, Co-Presidents, Cook Pigs Ranch, Julian Part One
Segment Seven: Krys and Mike Cook, Co-Presidents, Cook Pigs Ranch, Julian Part Two
Segment Eight: Jet Tila and Andy Harris on “The 14 Most Expensive Tasting Menus in America”